Today a chat about food and comfort: Thermostats and pancakes!
Thermostats and Pancakes
You might have encountered this discussion yourself as well….. Mr. CF: why is it so cold in the house? Mrs. CF: I don’t know I have not touched the thermostat. Mr CF goes to up the temperature to find that the thermostat has crapped out (we checked, it weren’t the batteries). This all happened on Friday night at 20:00……crap stores are closed.
So the next (very cold) morning, the search begins for a new thermostat. Two questions that come up: what is available and how much do we want to spend on it? To answer the first question is: many! There is a large selection of thermostats, the basic ones have just a temperature gauge and two buttons, the fancy ones have 4 sensors for different areas of the house. These fancy systems are wireless/remotely operated, can be programmed with an app, are highly flexible (and so on and so forth). The first options costs a very reasonable €20,95, the second type up to a whopping €499, with the majority of them around the €100-180 mark. That is quite the price difference!
What do you need?
What do you “need”, well you certainly need a thermostat as it won’t be very comfortable or practical to live without heating. But it is more the want’s that come into play with the thermostat. The options start with do you want to be able to program (e.g. daily on/off cycles, temperature ranges, etc.), do you want to be able to remotely turn on/off the heating of the house, or whatever else you can think of related to heating the house.
After some debate, we opted for the basic €20,95 thermostat option. Why? We noticed that our living schedule changes significantly from day to day. We don’t always come home at the same time (subject to work, Miss CF plans to play outside after day-care or desire to what’s some Roger Rabbit, spontaneous weekend plans or other reasons), so programming does not really work that well. Which means the heating is either on or off at the wrong time (which is uncomfortable or a waste of money/energy). The remotely (app) operated would be a welcome features, but just not at the price of €150-499.
Our home these days in not too big anymore (~125m2 or about 1350sf) with lots of smaller living areas and rooms, so it heats up rather quickly; therefore increasing the temperature when coming home is not a noticeable problem for us. To keep things simple and frugal, we bought the cheapest option that does only one thing: keep us comfortable. We keep the temperature on about 17-18 degrees Celsius when we are not there and increase to around 20-20.5 degrees Celsius when we get home or if we feel cold. We have the advantage that we have large south/southwest facing windows, so the house heats up nicely during the sunny days. And with the about €130 we saved, we can also buy some sweaters 😉 Oh, and additionally we lowered the temperature of the boiler system to 65 degrees Celsius (down from 80 degrees Celsius), this means lower gas use while still limiting the risk of nasty organisms in the water lines.
Also, on the same cold Saturday morning, we devised a simple plan to keep warm (at least around the stove) and enjoy a good solid breakfast at the same time: Pancakes!
Because we try to eat as healthy as we can, we prefer a plant based whole foods lifestyle. But that means that pancakes are not really the heathiest way to eat. However, we found a decent recipe to eat semi-healthy pancakes without the milk and eggs:
- 700ml soy milk
- 300 grams whole grain flour
- Baking powder
- Couple of apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
- Real Canadian Maple syrup (skip this is you want to stick to the really healthy, but you have to enjoy life as well!)
- Bit of oil for baking (we actually used olive oil for this)
Mix soy milk and flour, add backing power. Mix thoroughly. Heat pan, add some oil, and pour in batter. Add apple slices. Turn once half way and bake pancakes until golden brown. The end result looked like this: